2021 was supposed to be the year everything went back to normal, to a certain degree, but when it came to big gatherings and events, we just ended up with a more confusing version of 2020. Tickets were bought, plans were made and hopes were high. Then the cancellations came rolling in, and the disappointment with them.

If you have sorely missed donning your wackiest festival garb, wandering among captivating art installations, joining impromptu dance parties, catching world-class performers in action, and rocking out with your favourite bands until the sun comes up – we hear you. And we see you. Join us in our cautious optimism as we look forward to the (hopeful) return of some of our favourite music and arts festivals that were cancelled or went digital in 2021, but which are planning to make up for lost time in the year ahead.

BPM Festival
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
12-18 January 2022

With global air travel in tumult again, making it to Costa Rica might be a stretch for many – but if you’re in a position to get there, this legendary music festival won’t disappoint. What began as an industry event for bartenders, promoters and musicians (and you thought BPM stood for “beats per minute”) quickly grew into a 70,000-strong electronic dance music blowout for the ages, moving from its original home base on Mexico’s Playa del Carmen to Portugal’s Algarve Coast, and then the Pacific shores of Costa Rica. 

After a hiatus in 2021 (the 2020 edition took place before Covid went global), this year’s festival will take over the seaside beach resort of Tamarindo Diria for seven days and nights of non-stop sets by more than 100 international DJs. And the party doesn’t stop there: A follow-up edition will take place in February on the beaches of Camboriú, Brazil before hopping the Atlantic to spend a long weekend in Ibiza in late April and early May.



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Carnaval de Bahidorá
Tlaltizapán, Mexico
18-20 February 2022

Though considered by those in-the-know to be the best-kept secret on the international festival itinerary, Bahidorá doesn’t even consider itself a ‘festival’, per se: ‘carnaval’ is indeed a more fitting moniker for this immersive jungle experience that blends music, nature and art, and creates a pop-up community devoted to sustainability, diversity and free self-expression. 

Tucked into the lush vegetation along the Yautepec River, about two hours south of Mexico City, Bahidorá beckons with an array of pursuits that will, by turns, have your heart pounding like a drum and purring like a kitten full of warm milk. Stroll through larger-than-life art installations. Join a group for yoga, meditation or sound healing. Lose yourself in dance. Indulge in a restorative temazcal session. Engage in discussions and debates on the world’s most pressing issues and fascinating topics. Take to the crystal river for kayaking, snorkelling, diving or just lazing around on a pool donut. By the end of the magical, mind-altering three-day experience, you may just realise you’ve found your tribe.

Chi Wow Wah Town
Winton Wetlands, Victoria, Australia
4-6 March 2022

Organisers promise that festival-goers here will “enter a new dimension” and “recharge your chi” – and we’re inclined to believe them. Exiled to the beautiful Winton Wetlands about two hours north of Melbourne, pups and hounds (festival newcomers and veterans, respectively) descend for three days of underground electronic dance music framed by atmospheric art, innovative performances and a revitalising wellness programme – not to mention oodles of goodwill and good vibes, nurtured by the festival’s small size. No long slogs to campsites, no overcrowded dance floors. In fact, capacity this edition is limited to no more than 2,500 revellers to keep everyone safe, and help foster a collaborative, collective mindset like never before.

The Great Escape
Brighton, UK
11-14 May 2022

Calling all trend-seekers: This “festival for new music” is the prime place to be if you want to get your I-saw-them-before-they-were-big bragging rights. Highlighting hundreds of up-and-coming music artists from all across the globe, hosted in more than 35 walkable venues around the city, The Great Escape is an opportunity to catch some of the world’s most promising, as-yet unsigned and underground acts before they really blow up. 

See stars-to-be like Enny, Mysie, KAM-BU, Wu-Lu and Priya Ragu; take in The Alternative Escape, a free festival within a festival showcasing local musical artists; and stick around for The Late Escape to dance the night away as electro DJs play their best stuff. With its focus on emerging talent, alongside a music industry conference featuring panel discussions, debates and keynote speakers, The Great Escape has even been compared to its highly established counterpart across the pond: Austin’s South by Southwest.

Meadows in the Mountains
Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria
2-5 June 2022

Don’t expect more than 1,000 fellow festies at this rural mountain party – the five-hour bus ride from Sofia to the Rhodopes range (near the border with Greece) can be off-putting, as can the hike (or horse-and-cart ride) up an 850-metre mountain to reach the actual event. The bright side of making said trek? You’ll have much of the festival’s spectacular mountaintop views to yourself, not to mention its quirky attractions, like zip lines, thermal springs, art installations, a “death slide”, grass bobsledding, and a truly random assortment of workshops (hula hooping, anyone?). The best way to savour the experience is to don your most outlandish festival get-up and stroll the bucolic grounds to see what you might stumble upon. 

As for the music: the remote nature of the festival means there are only two stages, from which you can expect to hear folk, soul and funk tunes during the day, and electro-based beats after dark – mostly spun by unsung European musicians and DJs working their way up the food chain.

Luminato Festival
Toronto, Canada
9-19 June 2022

Part arts and culture event, part food fest and part discussion forum, Luminato takes over Toronto’s parks, theatres and public spaces for an all-out celebration of creativity each summer. 

After going fully digital for the 2021 edition, this year will offer a hybrid line-up; expect everything from literary readings to culinary workshops, film screenings, visual art installations and performances galore, taking place online as well as in venues across the city and attracting huge names – we’re talking Rufus Wainwright, David Byrne, Philip Glass – many of whom have been known create original works for the occasion. The festival frequently hosts world premieres of films, operas, plays, artworks and the like, making it an absolute must for fans of the performing arts. And the icing on the cake: many of the enlightening and entertaining events on offer are entirely free.

Terschelling, Netherlands
10-19 June 2022

Museums are nice and all, but this is an art experience that can’t be contained by four walls. Every summer, the otherwise obscure Dutch island of Terschelling in the Wadden Sea becomes a destination for culture vultures who make the trek to see art installations, theatre productions, musical acts, dance performances – you name it – pop up in every nook and cranny of the isle, from seaside stages to impromptu street performances and interactive installations in the forest. 

Many of the acts are site-specific, dreamed up just for the occasion and made to fit the place – meaning you can only catch them here and now. At Oerol, there’s something happening every minute, and your affordable ticket gets you access to nearly all of it, so plan well: we recommend renting a bicycle and doing transport the Dutch way.

Rainforest World Music Festival
Kuching, Malaysia
17-19 June 2022

In an infinitely cooler twist on the ubiquitous cultural fair concept, world and folk music enthusiasts trek to the jungles of Sarawak for a three-day jamfest featuring performers from across the globe. And after taking place entirely online in 2021, organisers and participants are ready to pick up where they left off at the in-person event this summer. 

Dozens of performers will take the stage through the festivities, showcasing soulful vocals and rocking age-old instruments, from lutes and sitars to didgeridoos – with a few electronic-based tunes thrown in. Should you make it to this year’s proceedings, be prepared to feast on kolo mee (sautéed wild fern), check out workshops for face time with the musicians, and browse the craft market full of items handmade by locals. But whatever you do, don’t miss the blowout concert on the festival’s final evening.

High Sierra Music Festival
Quincy, California, USA
30 June – 4 July 2022

In the land of sunshine and superstars, you can hardly throw a macramé crop top without hitting some music festival or other, but occasionally an event comes along that makes you want to take the path less travelled. In this case, the path leads to the majestic mountains of the Pacific Northwest, about 3.5 hours north of Sacramento, and a music festival that prides itself on its position along the far outer banks of the mainstream. 

No profit-driven music-for-the-masses here: At High Sierra Music Festival, the food is organic, the vibe inclusive, the music alternative and the tickets affordable. The performers may not be headlining Coachella any time soon, but their musical stylings – spanning reggae, jazz, electro, bluegrass, funk and more – are pleasers for a crowd of melophiles who truly appreciate a well-crafted tune. But beware: this festival is addictive. So much so that the same participants return year after year, with people who grew up coming here now bringing their own youngsters along to enjoy the side programme of kid-friendly offerings, like puppet parades, sing-alongs, art activities and even a dedicated family campground and family stage.

Riga, Latvia
15-16 July 2022

At the largest arts and culture event in the Baltics, get ready to jam to the tunes of such varied and creative artists as A$AP Rocky, Thundercat and Yves Tumor & Its Band – along with a strong presence of regional funk, pop and electro – in one of Europe’s coolest up-and-coming capitals. 

Don’t forget to take the whole clan with you: The knee-high crowd can enjoy performances of theatre, dance and literary readings at the Arts and Nature Stage, or catch a show in the Cinema Tent (just make sure no Lynch or von Trier is scheduled at that time). There’s even a fully staffed Kids Island for them to escape to for games, craft projects and other activities designed to foster the imagination. Youngsters aged 11-16 get in half-price, and 10-and-unders attend for free.



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Shambhala Music Festival
Salmo, British Columbia
22-25 July 2022

361 days a year, you’ll find nothing more than a bunch of cows, pigs and chickens on this family farm about 7.5 hours’ drive east from Vancouver (or 2.5 hours north of Spokane, Washington). But for four days every summer, this peaceful corner of southwestern British Columbia becomes a magnet for EDM lovers seeking to enjoy nature, music and wellness with a cohort of like-minded festival-goers. 

Ravers in search of a wild time should look elsewhere; despite its decent size with six stages on offer, Shambhala Music Festival’s aura is a mellow one. Perhaps it’s the no-booze-on-site policy, or the programme of yoga, mediation and craft workshops that has everyone in the zen zone. Or maybe it’s the festival’s ethical, sustainable ethos and remote natural surroundings that promote a grounded vibe. Either way, visitors can expect a friendly atmosphere and a dedication to dance music that make it worth the pilgrimage year after year.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Edinburgh, Scotland
5-29 August 2022

25 days. 300 venues. 50,000 performances. 2 million spectators. This is the world’s largest festival of the arts, encompassing everything from ballet to improv comedy, opera to street performers, plays to musical concerts – all from established artists to up-and-coming talents. 

As you might expect from an arts event of this size and scope, the Fringe truly offers something for everyone. You’ve got your street performers – musicians, living statues, portrait artists – taking over the Royal Mile and the Mound Precinct. You’ve got exhibitions – photography, paintings, crafts and other visual arts – hosted in galleries and museums across the city. And you’ve got performances – cabaret, theatre, dance, comedy, musicals, orchestras, children’s shows and more – setting up shop in just about every theatre, concert hall and basement bar in town. You’ll want to take it all in, but you can’t. What you can do is plan your Fringe experience well and make the most of this massive celebration of the arts and entertainment. 

Oasis Festival
Marrakech, Morocco
16-18 September 2022

While the rest of the Northern Hemisphere is battening down the hatches for autumn, head to one of sunny Morocco’s most unforgettable cities for pulsing music, serene swimming pools and rugged mountain views. 

After a late cancellation of the 2021 event, 2022 will see Oasis Festival return with a bang, taking over lush, luxurious resort The Source for three days of unbridled energy and fun in an intimate, exclusive atmosphere. Snag a taste of the local street food, get into position for yoga workshops, chill at the hookah lounge, check out the bazaar, or just pull up a lounge chair by the stunning pool – but whatever you do, don’t miss out on the musical acts; past editions have welcomed the likes of DJ Harvey, Axel Boman, Ben UFO, BLOND:ISH and Âme.

Rocking the Daisies
Cape Town, South Africa
October 2022

Come for the rocking indie and EDM beats emanating from the nine stages, stay for the sense of camaraderie, the ultra-laid-back atmosphere and the scenic location. Held on a picturesque farm in the charming town of Darling on South Africa’s Western Cape, Rocking the Daisies is one of the largest events of its kind on the African continent, drawing free spirits from all over the world who come together to dance, swim, enjoy delicious food and take part in the talks and workshops on the packed line-up. The event’s world-class production is truly incredible, and gets bigger and better every year. 

How to get to the location in the midst of the winelands outside of Cape Town? You could drive or take the bus, but sporty types should consider walking or cycling the 65 kilometres – made easy by joining the organised “Walking the Daisies” and “Cycling the Daisies” events, the proceeds of which support efforts to make the event as eco-friendly as possible. 2022 dates have not yet been announced, but the event is projected to take place this coming October.


Universo Paralello
Ituberá, Brazil
27 December 2022 – 3 January 2023

Make the trek through the Brazilian highlands to a remote coconut farm on Pratigi Beach …and enter an alternate reality. This, the land of maté and hallucinogenic ayahuasca tea, is the birthplace of the Brazilian trance scene, with its other-worldly music intended to put listeners in a dreamlike state. 

But despite the trance music and free-form movements, Universo Paralello isn’t just a beach dance party; expect a small town to pop up on the festival grounds, complete with showers, yoga, massage therapies, holistic healing rituals, even a flea market – and when your stomach rumbles, head to the 24-hour food court featuring victuals by professional chefs and culinary experts. Inherently pro-arts and -environment, Universo Paralello also offers art installations, exhibitions, interactive workshops and ample opportunity for intercultural exchange, as well as a sustainable ethos that informs every aspect of the festival infrastructure, from the water system to the recycling programme.

[Teaser image and photo at top: Meadows in the Mountains]

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